In 1993, client John Osher, founder of CAP Toys, called to tell us that he had seen something at the INPEX Show in Pittsburgh that he planned to market. He asked if we wanted to come along for the ride.
Through our affiliation with John we had already gotten to work with two sports icons – Magic Johnson and Nolan Ryan. So, we were fairly confident that our journey would be interesting and willing to bet that we might do something remarkable along the way.
When you specialize in product publicity, it is not often that something truly revolutionary falls into your lap. So, when it does, you buckle your seat beat and settle in for the ride.
John’s ‘find’ was the first ever electronic lollipop. He called it a Spin Pop. Was it candy? Was it a toy? Was it both? With the press of a button (and one AA battery), CAP Candy was born along with the interactive candy segment of the somewhat stagnant candy industry.
We took our toy know-how (along with our nose for news) and introduced the Spin Pop at the NACS Show in Washington, DC. What made the story even more interesting was that the Spin Pop had been invented by two life-long friends from the Washington, DC area and their wives.
The attention we got in the Washington-based print and broadcast media got the ball rolling. Articles about the Spin Pop appeared in newspapers around the country and on network and nationally affiliated television shows. We even had an item on Page Six when Jackie Kennedy Onassis was ‘caught’ buying her grandchildren the tasty treats at NYC’s Serendipity.
When Carole Lawson, business reporter for the New York Times, called to say that the Spin Pop was a big hit with her daughter – and the other passengers – on a cross country flight, we suggested she ‘tell the world.’ And, she did – with a front page business story about John Osher.
While the launch of the Spin Pop was sweet, our efforts became even more widespread when the handle of the lollipop started to feature different licenses from TV and movie characters and properties. Our library of merchandise was endless – as were the seasonal media opportunities: we urged parents to put a Spin Pop in every Easter basket and Christmas stocking. And, they did.
Without any consumer advertising to support sales, our strategic public relations campaign helped CAP Candy grow to a $50 million business in just a few years.
That’s a lot of lollipops.